by Goran Munivrana, ITTF Sports Science and Medical Committee
Launched for the first time three years ago and organised under the auspices of the Faculty of Kinesiology at University of Split in Croatia in conjunction with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU), the project has gathered professors and experts from more than 20 highly recognised institutions (universities, institutes, academies) worldwide and initially enrolled 20 students from five continents.
The last practical part of the programme, for the 13 students of the first generation who made it to the final year, was organised at several locations in Thailand (Bangkok, Nakhon Si Thammarat). Great support was received from the Sports Authorities of Thailand, the Table Tennis Association of Thailand and local government authorities. They hosted the programme and provided all the attendees with perfect conditions and with well-known Thai hospitality.
In return, the programme’s practical part was not a “closed” event organised only for the students attending the programme, but also Thai coaches, selected by the Sports Authorities of Thailand and Table Tennis Association of Thailand, were invited. At the same time, the programme’s third practical part was a high performance coaching seminar held with the aim of further boosting the development of table tennis in Thailand and providing their best coaches with an up-to-date, science-based coaching knowledge. The main topics of the seminar addressed the long-term organisation of the coaching process and the identification and development of young table tennis prospects.
Notable speakers were Neven Cegnar, the ETTU Development Manager, Miran Kondrič and Irene Faber from the ITTF Sports Science and Medical Committee and the Thai professor, Pichit Muangnapo, an expert for the stress and anxiety coping techniques.
The programme and seminar proved to be highly successful and attracted great attention from the local media.